Review: The Unbinding of Mary Reade


Title: The Unbinding of Mary Reade
Author: Miriam McNamara
Genre: Historical, Young Adult
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Source: Thomas Allen & Son (book distributor)
Release Date: June 19, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

A clever, romantic novel based on the true story of a girl who disguised herself as a boy to sail with the infamous pirates Anne Bonny and Calico Jack—and fell in love with Anne Bonny.

There’s no place for a girl in Mary’s world. Not in the home of her mum, desperately drunk and poor. Not in the household of her wealthy granny, where no girl can be named an heir. And certainly not in the arms of Nat, her childhood love who never knew her for who she was. As a sailor aboard a Caribbean merchant ship, Mary’s livelihood—and her safety—depends on her ability to disguise her gender.

At least, that’s what she thinks is true. But then pirates attack the ship, and in the midst of the gang of cutthroats, Mary spots something she never could have imagined: a girl pirate.

The sight of a girl standing unafraid upon the deck, gun and sword in hand, changes everything. In a split-second decision, Mary turns her gun on her own captain, earning herself the chance to join the account and become a pirate alongside Calico Jack and Anne Bonny.

For the first time, Mary has a shot at freedom. But imagining living as her true self is easier, it seems, than actually doing it. And when Mary finds herself falling for the captain’s mistress, she risks everything—her childhood love, her place among the crew, and even her life.

Breathlessly romantic and brilliantly subversive, The Unbinding of Mary Reade is sure to sweep readers off their feet and make their hearts soar.


I really enjoyed this story. There was lots of romance, and a bit of suspense too.

I flew through this story. It was very fast paced. The chapters alternated between different years. Some flashed back to Mary’s young years, or her first journey on a ship, while others returned to her current pirate life. This made the Mary’s past more mysterious because some parts of her past life are saved until the end.

As soon as I started reading this, I had to look up Mary Reade, who was a real pirate. I could could tell from the way the story was written, that it was based on a true story. Mary’s story is fascinating. She was a woman who dressed up as a man so she could be a pirate. Her mother raised her as a boy because her son, Mark, died after Mary was born. Her son was the grandson of a very rich woman, and she wanted her illegitimate daughter to inherit the woman’s wealth instead. It is a crazy premise for a story, but it is what actually happened to Mary.

I’m curious about Mary Reade now, so I will keep my eyes open for more of her story. I highly recommend this book.

What to read next:

  • Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller


  • Isle of Blood and Stone (Tower of Winds #1) by Makiia Lucier


Have you read The Unbinding of Mary Reade? What did you think of it?


One thought on “Review: The Unbinding of Mary Reade”

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